The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and Small and Medium Enterprise Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) have brokered a new collaboration to enhance the growth and survival of businesses across the country.
EFCC Spokesman, Dele Oyewale, said this in a statement on Tuesday in Abuja.
He said the parley held when a delegation of SMEDAN, led by its Director-General, Charles Odii, paid a courtesy visit to the Commission’s headquarters in Abuja.
BRANDPOWER reports that the EFCC’s Chairman, Ola Olukoyede, while receiving the delegation, says the anti graft body would partner with SMEDAN and agencies that are pivotal to business growth and the development of the economy.
“If any nation is going to grow economically, you must place your small and medium scale enterprises where they belong, support them, create an enabling environment for them to thrive and that is exactly what we are going to do with our partnership with you,” he said.
He pointed out that the era of placing Post No Debit, PND, (freezing) on individual and company’s accounts is over.
He added that the Commission would separate proceeds of crime from legitimate funds to allow businesses to grow in the country.
“The era of PND on peoples’ or companies’ accounts indiscriminately is over. If you trace proceeds of crime to any account, the best thing for you to do is to separate it from legitimate funds.
“Businesses have to grow. We call them growing concerns. We have to allow them to grow.
“These are people having many people in their employment and if you put PND on their accounts, they can’t work, they can’t grow, they can’t operate, and they can’t pay salary.
“And, they will sack their employees. How does that help the economy?,” he said.
He, however, warned that the EFCC would deploy the full wrath of the law on any business that was set up to destroy the economy.
“Don’t be surprised that there are businesses set up to destroy our economy as well. Those ones we are going to attack.
“We are going to enforce the law against them very strictly.
“But the ones that probably become accessories in one way or the other, money got laundered through the account, we should be able to separate proceeds of crime from legitimate funds and deal with it,” he said.
On his part, Odii stated that his team was at the Commission to create trust and enhance the existing partnership between them.
“We are here for two things: the first one is trust, there are 40 million businesses that we represent as their vanguard.
“We are like their advocates and many of them want to know if they can trust the new EFCC.
“They want to know if the EFCC is not going to contribute to the demise of small businesses.
“Our latest report shows that we lost three million businesses and this has to do with insecurity, fraud, global competitiveness and lack of ease of doing business in Nigeria,” he said.
According to him, the SMEDAN will want to embrace a partnership that is already in existence in the sense that if these 40 million small businesses that are contributing to the GDP, trust that they can do business in Nigeria
“And, that the EFCC is not an enemy but a partner in economic growth it will help to instill a lot of business confidence.
“We want them to see EFCC as a partner for economic growth and a partner for development,” he said.